Tip: To match a phrase, use quotation marks around the search term. eg. "Parliamentary Estate"


View sample alert
Written Question
Nepal: Religious Freedom
22 Oct 2021

Questioner: Marie Rimmer (LAB - St Helens South and Whiston)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 3 June 2021 to Question 7204 on Nepal: Christianity, what steps the British Embassy takes to engage with members of faith and belief groups and civil society in Nepal; and what trends the British Embassy has identified on religious and belief tolerance in Nepal.

Answered by Amanda Milling

The British Embassy in Kathmandu regularly engages with civil society to discuss a wide range of policy priorities, including human rights, climate change, girls' education, and media freedom. The embassy also meets with representatives of faith and belief groups to hear their priorities and any concerns, and is the Chair of the Human Rights Core Group, a network of like-minded diplomatic missions, which discusses concerns related to freedom of religion or belief to drive collective action.

The UK's assessment of the trends on religious and belief tolerance is that there have not been significant recent shifts in intra-community persecution or closure of civil society space. This is due to Nepal's Constitution and legal framework forming part of the peace settlement to bring marginalised communities into Nepal's institutions, related laws being largely upheld by the courts and relevant human rights commissions, and COVID-19 related lockdowns not discriminating between different faiths or beliefs.


Written Question
Nigeria: Religious Freedom
29 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of recent events in Kaduna State, Nigeria, including (1) the reported killing of Reverend Silas Yakubu Ali and at least 11 others, (2) the reported kidnap of Reverend Benson Yakusak, and (3) the role of Jihadist ideology in violence in the area.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

We condemn all violence across Nigeria, the devastating effects of which are felt by communities of different faiths. We condemn the killing of Reverend Silas Yakubu Ali in Southern Kaduna, an area that has a long history of intercommunal violence. We welcome reports that Reverend Benson Yakusak was released. Jihadist ideology is a driver of the conflict involving terrorist groups in the North East. The drivers of intercommunal violence elsewhere in Nigeria are complex and frequently relate to competition over resources and criminality.

The former Minister for Africa visited Nigeria in April where he discussed insecurity, including kidnaps, with the Foreign Minister and the President's Chief of Staff, and raised the importance of protecting all communities. We regularly visit states affected by intercommunal violence to engage with state governments, civil society, faith and community leaders and affected communities. We continue to encourage the Nigerian Government to take urgent action to protect all those at risk of violence, to bring perpetrators to justice and to implement long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence.


Written Question
Religious Freedom
29 Sep 2021

Questioner: Baroness Cox (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment have they made of whether extremist Islamist ideology is a driver of intercommunal attacks in Nigeria; and what assessment they have made of the findings of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent review of persecution of Christians and freedom of religion or belief.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

The Government condemns all incidents of intercommunal violence in Nigeria, the devastating effects of which are felt by communities of different faiths. The underlying drivers of intercommunal violence are complex and frequently relate to competition over resources and increasing criminality. Islamic extremism is a driver of conflict in the North east and not a driver of intercommunal violence.

We have accepted the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro's report. On Nigeria, the report considered intercommunal violence in the Middle Belt and terrorism in the North East. In response to the issues raised in the report on intercommunal violence, the Government co-hosted a Wilton Park conference on 'Fostering Social Cohesion in Nigeria' in February 2020, exploring the complex causes of conflict and solutions to help ease tensions and reduce violence. Since then, we have increased our visits to areas affected by violence to engage with state governments, civil society, faith and community leaders and affected communities. The Minister for Africa visited Nigeria in April, where he discussed insecurity across the country with the President's Chief of Staff, the Foreign Minister and community leaders.


Written Question
Radicalism
22 Sep 2021

Questioner: Sam Tarry (LAB - Ilford South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to help build trust with Muslim communities and to work with faith leaders in eradicating extremism.

Answered by Damian Hinds

The Government remains determined to promote British values actively, working in partnership and alongside all communities to demonstrate what we have in common as the best defence against extremists who would seek to divide us.

We will not tolerate those who spread divisive and harmful narratives. We are committed to tackling those who spread views of any ideology that promote violence and hatred against individuals and communities in our society, and that radicalise others into terrorism.

Our work to counter radicalisation through Prevent works best when it is delivered in partnership with communities and civil society, including faith institutions. We also work with our delivery partners to facilitate a comprehensive programme of engagement events aimed at local communities around the country. This programme invites members of the public to learn more about Prevent and also discuss and offer their views on Prevent.

In addition, Sara Khan has been appointed by the Prime Minister as the government’s Independent Adviser for Social Cohesion and Resilience, as part of government action to tackle extremism in our communities.

She will hear from both victims of extremism and those on the frontline working to combat it – from teachers to faith leaders to local councils – to understand and ultimately counteract its effects.


Written Question
Housing: Refugees
21 Sep 2021

Questioner: Kate Osamor (LAB - Edmonton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions officials in her Department have had with their counterparts in the (a) Housing, Communities and Local Government and (b) Treasury on the level of funding that will be made available to local authorities that will be housing refugees via the Afghan citizen's resettlement scheme.

Answered by Tom Pursglove

The Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will welcome 5,000 Afghans in year one, with up to a total of 20,000 in the next four years.  We will keep the route under constant review and will operate it flexibly given the increasingly difficult conditions on the ground in Afghanistan.

All those brought to the UK under ACRS will have the right to work, access to education and healthcare and be able to apply for public funds. To ensure they will be supported properly, changes will be made to legislation so that, if necessary, people arriving under ACRS do not need to meet the habitual residence test.

They will also receive comprehensive integration support as they start their new lives in the UK. A package of support to acclimatise to the UK, learn English, and find work, will enable rapid self-sufficiency and social integration in UK communities.

We will match the tariff for the successful Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) to provide a complete package covering health, education and integration support costs for those on the ACRS. The core local authority tariff of £20,520 per person will be provided over a shorter period of three years, enabling more funding in those crucial early years to support resettled Afghans to integrate into British society and become self-sufficient more quickly. Funding will also be provided to support education, English language training and health provision (in year one only).  We have also agreed a further £20m of flexible funding in the current financial year (2021/22) to support local authorities with higher cost bases with any additional costs in the provision of services.

We welcome the commitments already made by many local authorities and would urge all local authorities to participate in welcoming these at-risk Afghan citizens into our communities.

The challenge of integrating such a large number of people at pace and supporting them to rebuild their lives in safety cannot be met by central and local government alone. We will be actively working with the private, voluntary and community sectors to harness a whole society effort to address this challenge.

As part of this, we are creating a portal where people, organisations and businesses can register offers of support. This could include volunteering, offers of employment, or to provide professional skills pro bono, including helping those arriving deal with trauma, or offering donations of mobile phones, mobile credit or data, laptops, access to training, clothes and toys. This will complement the Afghanistan housing portal which has been set up to collect offers of additional housing support.

We will also be extending the Community Sponsorship Scheme (CSS) so that friends and neighbours, charities and faith groups can come together to support a family through the ACRS. We will make it easier and quicker for community groups to become sponsors so that more people can play a direct role in the warm welcome we will extend to these new members of our communities.


Written Question
Housing: Refugees
21 Sep 2021

Questioner: Kate Osamor (LAB - Edmonton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how additional funding will be allocated to local authorities that will house refugees via the Afghan citizen's resettlement scheme; and what his timetable is for allocating that funding.

Answered by Tom Pursglove

The Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will welcome 5,000 Afghans in year one, with up to a total of 20,000 in the next four years.  We will keep the route under constant review and will operate it flexibly given the increasingly difficult conditions on the ground in Afghanistan.

All those brought to the UK under ACRS will have the right to work, access to education and healthcare and be able to apply for public funds. To ensure they will be supported properly, changes will be made to legislation so that, if necessary, people arriving under ACRS do not need to meet the habitual residence test.

They will also receive comprehensive integration support as they start their new lives in the UK. A package of support to acclimatise to the UK, learn English, and find work, will enable rapid self-sufficiency and social integration in UK communities.

We will match the tariff for the successful Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) to provide a complete package covering health, education and integration support costs for those on the ACRS. The core local authority tariff of £20,520 per person will be provided over a shorter period of three years, enabling more funding in those crucial early years to support resettled Afghans to integrate into British society and become self-sufficient more quickly. Funding will also be provided to support education, English language training and health provision (in year one only).  We have also agreed a further £20m of flexible funding in the current financial year (2021/22) to support local authorities with higher cost bases with any additional costs in the provision of services.

We welcome the commitments already made by many local authorities and would urge all local authorities to participate in welcoming these at-risk Afghan citizens into our communities.

The challenge of integrating such a large number of people at pace and supporting them to rebuild their lives in safety cannot be met by central and local government alone. We will be actively working with the private, voluntary and community sectors to harness a whole society effort to address this challenge.

As part of this, we are creating a portal where people, organisations and businesses can register offers of support. This could include volunteering, offers of employment, or to provide professional skills pro bono, including helping those arriving deal with trauma, or offering donations of mobile phones, mobile credit or data, laptops, access to training, clothes and toys. This will complement the Afghanistan housing portal which has been set up to collect offers of additional housing support.

We will also be extending the Community Sponsorship Scheme (CSS) so that friends and neighbours, charities and faith groups can come together to support a family through the ACRS. We will make it easier and quicker for community groups to become sponsors so that more people can play a direct role in the warm welcome we will extend to these new members of our communities.


Written Question
Nigeria: Fulani
15 Sep 2021

Questioner: Carla Lockhart (DUP - Upper Bann)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what engagement he has had with his counterpart in the Government of Nigeria on tackling the (a) activity of Fulani militants and (b) attacks by those militants on non-Muslims in that country.

Answered by James Duddridge

The UK Government condemns all incidents of intercommunal violence in Nigeria. The underlying drivers of intercommunal violence are complex, the perpetrators do not come from any one ethnic group, and the devastating effects are felt by communities of different faiths and ethnicities. It is inaccurate to attribute sole responsibility to one ethnic group, the Fulani, and terms like militia risk fuelling tensions between communities. We continue to encourage the Nigerian Government to take urgent action to protect all those at risk of violence, bring perpetrators to justice and address the root causes of the violence.

During my visit to Nigeria in April, I [Minister Duddridge] discussed insecurity with the Foreign Minister and the President's Chief of Staff, and raised the importance of protecting all communities. I [Minister Duddridge] met the Foreign Minister again in July, along with Nigeria's Minister of State Education, where we discussed the impact of insecurity on education. In addition, our High Commissioner and her team regularly visit states affected by violence to engage with state governments, civil society, faith and community leaders and affected communities.


Written Question
Charities: Newport West
15 Sep 2021

Questioner: Ruth Jones (LAB - Newport West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to support charities in Newport West to help them recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Matt Warman

Government recognises the dedicated charities and volunteers who have played a huge role in the national effort against coronavirus. From supporting the NHS, delivering food, tackling loneliness and social isolation and much more, they have delivered vital work throughout this pandemic.

That is why we provided an unprecedented multi-billion-pound package of support for charities and other civil society organisations and secured an exemption from the Covid-19 restrictions for essential volunteering.

Examples of DCMS funding awarded to registered charities in Newport West include:

  • £1,900 to St David’s Foundation Hospice Care

  • £2,934 to Sparkle (South Wales) Limited

  • £2,000 to Pillgwenlly Millennium Trust Limited

  • £20,000 to Faith Christian Center UK

For more information on grants awarded, please see the COVID-19 Grants Tracker published by 360 Giving.


Written Question
Religious Practice: Islam
2 Aug 2021

Questioner: Lord Pearson of Rannoch (Non-affiliated - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 29 April (HL15173) and 20 July (HL1825), whether they have assessed any mosques in the UK for evidence of the promotion of violence towards non-Muslims, including the dissemination of literature which encourages such violence; and if not, why not.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

We assess all evidence of those that radicalise others though their support for or justification of violence, and will not tolerate those who spread divisive and harmful narratives. Any violent threat is assessed and managed by the police and security services based on the threat that it is deemed to pose.

Our work to counter radicalisation through Prevent works best when it is delivered in partnership with communities and civil society, including faith institutions.


Written Question
Religious Practice: Islam
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Pearson of Rannoch (Non-affiliated - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 29 April (HL15173), what is their estimate of the number of mosques in the UK; and how many have they assessed for evidence of radicalisation through their (1) support, or (2) justification, of violence towards non-Muslims.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

We assess all evidence of those that radicalise others though their support for or justification of violence and will not tolerate those who spread divisive and harmful narratives. We cannot discuss individual cases and we have made no assessment of the number of mosques in the UK.

We continue to work with law enforcement agencies and multi-agency partners to increase our understanding of new and emerging radicalising threats to society. Any violent threat is assessed and managed by the police and security services based on the threat that it is deemed to pose.

Our work to counter radicalisation through Prevent works best when it is delivered in partnership with communities and civil society, including faith institutions.


Written Question
Nigeria: Violence
5 Jul 2021

Questioner: Baroness Cox (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of escalating Islamist-related violence in (1) South-western, and (2) South-eastern Nigeria; and in particular the impact on food security.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

The Government condemns all incidents of violence in Nigeria. We are following with concern the increased insecurity in the South West, where there has been a rise in both criminal violence and distinct clashes between farmers and herders. We are also concerned by the increasing vigilantism in response. Narratives that define the violence by ethnic groups risk fueling tensions and further violence, as well as undermining efforts to address the complex root causes, which include competition for resources and rapid population growth.

The Government is also concerned by the increasing levels of violence in the South East. We are working in Nigeria to promote intercommunal and interfaith dialogue, and continue to call for solutions that address the complex underlying causes of violence. Officials at the British High Commission regularly meet faith and community leaders and civil society organisations in both the South East and South West. During his visit to Nigeria in April, the Minister for Africa met the President's Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and the Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, to discuss insecurity. The Minister raised the importance of protecting all communities across Nigeria. Across Nigeria, the UK is also concerned about the plight of the estimated one million civilians living in inaccessible areas to humanitarian workers, of whom 880,000 have very limited access to food and to basic services such as healthcare.


Written Question
Nigeria: Fulani
5 Jul 2021

Questioner: Baroness Cox (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to recent reports of targeted attacks in Nigeria against the (1) Yoruba people, and (2) Igbo people, by armed Fulani herders.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

The Government condemns all incidents of violence in Nigeria. We are following with concern the increased insecurity in the South West, where there has been a rise in both criminal violence and distinct clashes between farmers and herders. We are also concerned by the increasing vigilantism in response. Narratives that define the violence by ethnic groups risk fueling tensions and further violence, as well as undermining efforts to address the complex root causes, which include competition for resources and rapid population growth.

The Government is also concerned by the increasing levels of violence in the South East. We are working in Nigeria to promote intercommunal and interfaith dialogue, and continue to call for solutions that address the complex underlying causes of violence. Officials at the British High Commission regularly meet faith and community leaders and civil society organisations in both the South East and South West. During his visit to Nigeria in April, the Minister for Africa met the President's Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and the Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, to discuss insecurity. The Minister raised the importance of protecting all communities across Nigeria. The UK is also concerned about the plight of the estimated one million civilians living in inaccessible areas to humanitarian workers, of whom 880,000 have very limited access to food and to basic services such as healthcare.


Written Question
Persecution of Christians Across the Globe Independent Review
21 Jun 2021

Questioner: Jeffrey M Donaldson (DUP - Lagan Valley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 15 April 2021 to Question 178838 on Persecution of Christians Across the Globe Independent Review, what progress has been made on implementing recommendation number 12 of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review of the FCO’s work to support persecuted Christians which calls for the establishment of a clear framework for reporting by posts to include engagement with majority and minority religious leaders, local civil society and NGOs, plus engagement where appropriate with representatives of such diaspora communities in the UK.

Answered by Nigel Adams

The Government has committed to implementing in full the recommendations in the Bishop of Truro's review, and work continues to implement them in a way that will bring real improvement to the lives of those persecuted due to their faith or belief. Of the 22 recommendations we have fully delivered ten, made good progress on a further eight, and are confident that all 22 will be delivered by the time of the independent review in 2022. At a country level, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and discuss practices and laws that discriminate on the basis of religion or belief.

On recommendation 11, the FCDO is currently working with an external implementer to develop training for staff on religion for international engagement. The implementer, the Edward Cadbury Centre at the University of Birmingham, is consulting with a wide range of external stakeholders, including those that work specifically on Christian Persecution. The training will support our work on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, including amplifying the FoRB toolkit.

Posts across the FCDO network regularly report on the local human rights situation, including in relation to the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief, and reflect engagement with the host government, religious leaders, civil society and NGOs. Staff make use of the Freedom of Religion or Belief Toolkit to establish a baseline for their reporting. In line with recommendation 12 of the Bishop of Truro's review, good progress is being made on developing a framework for reporting on FoRB. It will include guidance on who to engage with, and how to form recommendations for action.


Written Question
Persecution of Christians Across the Globe Independent Review
21 Jun 2021

Questioner: Jeffrey M Donaldson (DUP - Lagan Valley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 15 April 2021 to Question 178838 on Persecution of Christians Across the Globe Independent Review, which of the 22 recommendations made by the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review of the FCO’s work to support persecuted Christians are yet to be fully delivered or significantly progressed.

Answered by Nigel Adams

The Government has committed to implementing in full the recommendations in the Bishop of Truro's review, and work continues to implement them in a way that will bring real improvement to the lives of those persecuted due to their faith or belief. Of the 22 recommendations we have fully delivered ten, made good progress on a further eight, and are confident that all 22 will be delivered by the time of the independent review in 2022. At a country level, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and discuss practices and laws that discriminate on the basis of religion or belief.

On recommendation 11, the FCDO is currently working with an external implementer to develop training for staff on religion for international engagement. The implementer, the Edward Cadbury Centre at the University of Birmingham, is consulting with a wide range of external stakeholders, including those that work specifically on Christian Persecution. The training will support our work on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, including amplifying the FoRB toolkit.

Posts across the FCDO network regularly report on the local human rights situation, including in relation to the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief, and reflect engagement with the host government, religious leaders, civil society and NGOs. Staff make use of the Freedom of Religion or Belief Toolkit to establish a baseline for their reporting. In line with recommendation 12 of the Bishop of Truro's review, good progress is being made on developing a framework for reporting on FoRB. It will include guidance on who to engage with, and how to form recommendations for action.


Written Question
Persecution of Christians Across the Globe Independent Review
21 Jun 2021

Questioner: Jeffrey M Donaldson (DUP - Lagan Valley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 15 April 2021 to Question 178838 on Persecution of Christians Across the Globe Independent Review, what progress his Department has made on implementing recommendation number 11 of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review of the FCDO’s work to support persecuted Christians to ensure that training in religious literacy and belief dynamics is undertaken in all roles where that understanding is important before each deployment.

Answered by Nigel Adams

The Government has committed to implementing in full the recommendations in the Bishop of Truro's review, and work continues to implement them in a way that will bring real improvement to the lives of those persecuted due to their faith or belief. Of the 22 recommendations we have fully delivered ten, made good progress on a further eight, and are confident that all 22 will be delivered by the time of the independent review in 2022. At a country level, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern, and discuss practices and laws that discriminate on the basis of religion or belief.

On recommendation 11, the FCDO is currently working with an external implementer to develop training for staff on religion for international engagement. The implementer, the Edward Cadbury Centre at the University of Birmingham, is consulting with a wide range of external stakeholders, including those that work specifically on Christian Persecution. The training will support our work on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, including amplifying the FoRB toolkit.

Posts across the FCDO network regularly report on the local human rights situation, including in relation to the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief, and reflect engagement with the host government, religious leaders, civil society and NGOs. Staff make use of the Freedom of Religion or Belief Toolkit to establish a baseline for their reporting. In line with recommendation 12 of the Bishop of Truro's review, good progress is being made on developing a framework for reporting on FoRB. It will include guidance on who to engage with, and how to form recommendations for action.